Mankind has known about the benefits of massage therapy for thousands of years and the business of massage is growing in leaps and bounds. So, is this a good time to get certification in massage therapy and find work in a spa or work on your own as an independent?
The answer to that is emphatically, yes! Healthcare, it turns out was the only industry in the U.S. economy that proved itself to be recession-proof. While all other industries suffered, healthcare expanded.
And why not? Massage therapy is enjoying a big upswing in credibility, which means that people trust the benefits, which go far beyond just being relaxed.
One 2005 study in the International Journal of Neuroscience showed that massage therapy was beneficial for women who suffered from anxiety and/or depression. Other studies show it is beneficial for your circulation, your posture, and your general sense of well being.
Another study, this one published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, soundly backed up the 2005 study, finding massage was beneficial or children who were depressed and anxious. Massage can work like a homeopathic anti-depressant, helping children to relax, which makes them happier and social. In addition, the reported level of stress declines after a massage.
With improved circulation, improved posture and more relaxed muscles, it is no wonder why many see massage therapy as a terrific antidote to headaches, including migraine headaches. It is also no wonder why many turn to a masseuse to alleviate muscle pain.
A 2007 National Health Interview survey found 18 million adults and 700,000 children received professional massage in the previous year.
In contrast, the Statistics Portal says a total of 4 percent of the U.S. population received a massage in a six-month period in 2012, which amounts to roughly 13 million people.
Meanwhile, according to the AMTA, 88 percent of the U.S. population (276 million people) believe a message is “effective in reducing pain … and beneficial to health and wellness.”
From AMTA data, in 2013, 34.9 million people had at least one massage in the year with 143 million massages rendered – pointing to a fair amount of repeat customers. In addition, that year the number of professional massage therapists grew by 4 percent to 319,870. Astoundingly, the number of therapists was up 47 percent in the past 10 years and the sector gained 19,000 new massage therapists per month making it one of the fastest growing professions in the country.
If you are thinking of jumping into the game, consider these options:
Independent At Home
The most obvious business model involves obtaining certification from a massage school and setting up massage tables in a back room of your home. Maybe add in some candles for a pleasing aromatic ambiance and calming music. This involves inviting clients into your home, where you set up by appointment massages, which generally last a half hour to an hour.
Independent Away From Home
Young, ambitious massage therapists also buy a portable massage tables or chairs that can be folded up to fit in a car or a van. With such a set up, a masseuse can roam around, giving massages at a kiosk, at the shopping mall, or at a local festival, where many people sign up for a clothes-on massage just for the novelty of the experience.
A growing number of massage therapists are signing up for work at health spas, which have been enjoying a post-recession resurgence in recent years. This offers steady work, although some spas are also known to favor an assembly-line approach. In some spas, a masseuse can also find work as a massage instructor, leading a group of paying customers, who pair up and give each other massages. After a set period of time, the customers switch places, while the trained masseuse goes from table to table as the group’s coach.
At beauty centers you can find various types of massages including: hot stone massage, Swedish massage and many others.
Is this a good time to get into the business? Of course, it is. Here’s why:
In a post-recession economy, luxury massages are back in fashion.
Healthcare, it turns out, was recession-proof, expanding through the lean years. As such, more and more doctors are referring patients to a massage therapists as an alternative to more expensive options, such as physical therapy or a visit to see a chiropractor.
However, watch out for an over-abundance of massage therapists, who tend to settle in specific locations, including areas of wealth and in various college towns that favor alternative lifestyles. It’s hard to make a go of it in areas saturated with competitors, even though it means you also have a massage as an option at the end of a stressful day.